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REVIEW 



ANECDOTA SYRIACA. 



Reprinted from "The Journal of Sacred Literature and 
Biblical Record," for April, 1863. 



FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION. 



LONDON: 
MITCHELL AND SON, PRINTERS, WARDOUR STREET, W. 



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REVIEW. 



Anecdota Syriaca. Collegit edidit explicuit J. P. N. Land, Theol. 
Doc. Tom. I. Insunt Tabul» xxviii. Lithographic*. Lugduni 
Batavorum. 1862. 

We hail with pleasure the arrival of this handsome volume. Its 
editor, a young orientalist of great promise, and already favourably 
known by bis Dissertation upon the Ecclesiastical History of John, 
Bishop of Ephesus, in which he was the first to call attention to the 
great value of the contents of that contemporaneous record, was sent to 
London in the autumn of 1857, at the expense of the Dutch govern- 
ment, and continued there nearly a year, occupied in examining the 
treasures of Syriac literature stored up in the British Museum, and in 
transcribing such manuscripts as seemed to him most worthy of his 
pains. The three intervening years seem to have been chiefly spent in 
studying the works with which he was thus enabled to enrich the 
library of the University of Leyden, and the liberality of the Warner 
trustees there has now enabled him to give to the world the first in- 
stalment of the rich harvest which he gathered. 

As Dr. Land remarks, it is to the general advantage that the noble 
collections which have gradually accumulated at the British Museum 
should be examined by students of different nations ; for as national 
character differs, that which is highly attractive to the learned of one 
country, is in danger of being thought of minor interest in another, 
While, therefore, English scholars have been chiefly interested in theo- 
logical writings, he claims for the Germans broader views, and a philo- 
sophical preference for whatever tends to throw light upon the history 
of civilization in general. But while we allow that there is a certain 
amount of theoretical truth in Dr. Land's canon, we do not find it borne 
out by the facts. We owe to Dr. Cureton the Ecclesiastical History of 
John of Ephesus, and from a Syriac palimpsest he deciphered the oldest 
known text, by several centuries, of a considerable portion of the Iliad 
of Homer. On the other hand we know of no theological publication 
of modern times which can compete in interest or value with the treatise 
of Titus, Bishop of Bostra, or the Didascalia Apostolorum, edited by 
Dr. De Lagarde. But what is more curious, Dr. Land himself has not 
struck out into new ground, but followed in the tracks already marked 
out by others. Attention had already been called to the Leges 
Sasculares — the most valuable treatise in his present volume — by Mr. 
B, H. Cowper, who in his Analecta Nicama, copied from this very 
manuscript, mentioned it as a "curious document." In the same 
author's Syrian Miscellanies, a translation may be found of the chro- 
nological extracts from Ad. MS. 14,643, of which Dr. Land has now 
given us the Syriac: while the volume which is to follow next in 



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order will contain such remains of John of Ephesus as have not yet 
been published, and will therefore only complete Dr. Cureton's labours. 

Among the vast wealth however of the British Museum, Dr Land's 
view of the tendencies of the German mind settled at least his own 
choice : and thus his Anecdota consist chiefly of works of historical 
interest, and such especially as throw light upon the fortunes of the 
Syrians themselves. Besides fragments, therefore, of other parts of 
John of Ephesus 1 history, he has transcribed a volume by the same 
author containing the lives of oriental saints, the title of which Dr. 
Cureton had previously given in the preface to his edition of the History. 
Next follows a Historia Miscellanea, to the publication of which we 
look forward with interest : for it contains the Syriac version of the 
once famous work of Zacharias, Bishop of Mitylene, of which we have 
more than once heard mention as existing among the Nitrian manu- 
scripts : the short chronological record styled " the History of the 
Chalipbs," but to us most interesting from the notices it contains of the 
early councils, follows ; then the secular laws ; the maxims of the sage 
Menander; and, finally, a few leaves written in the Syro- Palestinian 
character, and containing portions of a Psalter. More than a hundred 
leaves, in all, written in the same character, were brought from Egypt 
by Dr. Teschendorf in his last two journeys to the East, and have been 
lent to Dr. Land by the liberality of the Russian Government. They 
contain two books of Gospels, and some Homilies, and their publication 
would be of value, not so much from their contents as from the light 
they might throw upon the dialect spoken in Palestine : the classical 
Syriac being that of the regions eastward, and Edessa its head- 
quarters. 

In the present volume we have the Syriac text, and a Latin transla- 
tion of the book of the Chaliphs, the secular laws, the maxims of 
Menander, and also a brief history of the St. Thomas Christians of 
Malabar, from a manuscript in the library of the University of Leyden. 
There is, further, a short excursus upon % the "Laws of various nations/ 1 
ascribed by Dr. Cureton in his Spicilegium to Bardesanes, but which 
Dr. Land considers, from internal evidence, to have been written by his 
disciple Philip. In a second excursus he argues that the extract from 
Melito was not taken from the Apology of the venerable Bishop of 
Sardes, but from his treatise De Veritate. For ourselves we own to the 
greatest doubt as to its being the work of the Bishop at all. Cave 
praises Melito as "doctrina clarus," and Tertullian says that the Chris- 
tians regarded him as a prophet. But after reading the extract in 
question, we own to a feeling of great relief on finding the author called, 
in the heading, " Melito the Philosopher ;" whereas in the three extracts 
expressly ascribed in the titles to the Bishop of Sardes, we think we 
can discern that "elegans et declamatorium iI]genium, ,, for which 
Tertullian again praises him, and of which we can find no trace in this 
frigid oration. We may add that the early Christians were famous 
for their knowledge of the Old Testament, and that Melito especially 
was remarkable for a work in six volumes, containing extracts from the 



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Bible, in the preface of which is that list of its contents which gives us 
the earliest knowledge of the sacred canon. Let any one remembering 
this read the account of Elisha in p. 44, and we think he will grant 
that the Melito who wrote this extract had but a very shallow and 
second-hand knowledge of the Scriptures : and so of the account of the 
deluge, — the flood of Noah is put in p. 51 on just the same level with 
a previous " flood and wind, when the chosen men were destroyed by a 
mighty north wind, and the just were left for a demonstration of the 
truth." No Christian wrote this, but some eclectic philosopher, who 
had at most a very slight knowledge of the Bible, and who might very 
well hold a place in the same volume as the Gnostic Bardesanes. For 
we must call attention to the fact that the extracts which really belong 
to the Bishop of Sardes are taken from a very different manuscript. 

Next in order we have a most valuable dissertation upon Syriac 
Palaeography ; containing an account of their manner of writing, the 
materials they employed, their ink, pens, parchment, paper, etc.; and in 
which Dr. Land makes it appear probable that the Syrians occasionally 
made use of quills. We have ourselves seen a copy of the Gospels 
brought from Malabar, in which are rough drawings of the four evange- 
lists, each with his ink-horn hanging from the mouth of some animal, 
while in his hand he holds a veritable pen, with the feathered part so 
clearly drawn that mistake is impossible. The manuscript is not ancient, 
but these things are so often copied from generation to generation, that 
the drawings may be taken from something of greater antiquity. 

We think it just possible then that the Syrians did sometimes 
perhaps write with quills ; but when Dr. Land goes a step farther, and 
denies them the use of the reed, we are obliged to halt. His words 
are : — " Nee video qua ratione calami usum, dum huic homini abjudi- 
camus, ejus collegis tribuere cogamur." We turn therefore to the 
Nomenclator of Elias Barsinaeus, fraudulently published under the 
name of Thomas a Novaria. In p. 165 we have a list of the imple- 
ments used by the scribe. Among them we have li^CTO? f \ 1 O 
calamus scribal, the scribe's reed, but not a word about quills. We 
next turn to our own private collections from the Bibliotheca Orientalis, 
and find nothing under the Syriac equivalent for pens, but two passages 
proving the use of the reed. The first is taken from a Homily upon 
the Lord's Supper by S. Isaac the Great, a writer of the fifth century, 

and will be found in Bib. Or., i., 220, col. b, as follows : *j-jZ r .*j<o| 

*)ai\]> ]r-u-£> 1-3OT5 "(Faith) held out to me the reed of the spirit, 

and bade me sign : and I took it and wrote and confessed, This is 
the body of God." The second belongs to the ninth century, being 
taken from the Monastic History of Thomas of Marga (lb., ill., i., 
490, c. a.), where speaking of a monk who shortly before his death 
saw a wonderful vision, he proceeds: — ]AfiD^ «£}Ado JjJLQ vkO » 
♦01^ ^Q-k>Z")} ]joi ]o]-k> ^1, rnA > \ r^ " H e took a reed, and wrote 



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upon the wall of his cell an account of the vision which had appeared 
unto him." 

We have also been told that the Nestorian priest from Oroomiah, 
who spent a portion of last year in London, very much disliked the 
use of the quill, and wrote with a reed. Nor did he approve of our 
ink, but preferred lampblack mixed with a solution of gum. Our own 
eyes also convince us that Syriac manuscripts were written with the 
reed. No quill could continue page after page writing with the same 
exactness, and with every letter so truly formed, that no printing could 
be more easy to read wherever time has spared its ravages. But even 
more conclusive are the rapid scrawls often found in the fly-leaves of 
manuscripts, and recording the, no doubt, interesting fact to the writer 
that he once saw, and occasionally that he had even read, the "blessed 
book." The lines of these could only have been made with the reed. 
And, in short, the interesting, and we may add surprising, fact which 
Dr. Land has discovered is that the Syrians ever used quills at all. 

It is a notion of grammarians that though the Syrians read from 
right to left, yet that they wrote from the top of the page to the 
bottom, turning the parchment sideways. In proof of this Hoffmann 
gives a very respectable list of authorities in p. 72, of his Grammar ; 
and Dr. Land has found a curious confirmation of the idea in a manu- 
script of the sixth century. One or two Greek words which occur in 
the Syriac, are there written vertically instead of horizontally, as 
if the scribe had been too lazy to turn his parchment round. Upon this 
subject we should like to know whether the custom was general, or con- 
fined to one school of calligraphers. Certainly the priest referred to 
above, from Oroomiah, wrote like an ordinary mortal. But the writing 
of Syriac, especially in the older characters, was a very slow and 
laborious process, and probably no manuscripts exist in the world more 
beautifully and carefully executed than Syriac : and though we should 
require strong proof to convince us of the general prevalence of this 
vertical method of writing, yet we readily allow that some families of 
scribes may have adopted some such practice. In the colophons we 
frequently find testimony to the difficulty of the scribe's office ; often 
they speak as if borne down by a sense of utter weariness, and declare 
that the sight of the last line fills them with the same delight as the 
sight of land gives to the storm-tost sailor. And we remember one 
copyist who says, " It was a wise man who said that it is easier to 
write with stones upon men's backs, than to transcribe the lines of a 
book." 

Of the manuscript in which these vertical specimens of writing 
occur Dr. Land gives us a lithographed specimen, and we can safely 
affirm that nothing can be much more beautiful or interesting to a 
palaeographer than the lithographs with which this book is adorned. 
Besides the frontispiece, in which are facsimiles of four Syriac manu- 
scripts belonging to Dr. Lee, of Hartwell House, there are twenty- 
seven plates executed with great skill, and containing extracts from 
more than one hundred and twenty codices in the British Museum. 



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The facsimiles from Hartwell are interesting as giving us specimens of 
that interlaced work so familiar to Syriac students, but which Professor 
Westwood, in his Pakeographia Sacra Pictoria, declares to be equally 
characteristic of Anglo-Saxon and Irish manuscripts. It consists of 
ribbons intertwined in a great variety of intricate patterns, and is some- 
times delicately, but more frequently coarsely, drawn ; and is almost 
the sole ornament ever found in Syriac books. 

The manuscripts from which Dr. Land has copied his facsimiles 
are mostly of an ascertained date, and are therefore a very valuable 
aid towards fixing the relative period at which others, of which the 
colophons have perished, were written. And as time has generally 
been most busy with bis ravages at the beginning and end of books— 
for, in the ages of neglect, while their outsides were exposed to dirt and 
violence, their insides were left alone — many of our most valuable 
manuscripts have lost their titles and endings : but by the aid of these 
well-executed lithographs it will be less difficult to arrive at a trust- 
worthy conclusion as to the age to which they may be referred. 

Omitting dialectic varieties, Dr. Land has shewn that there are four 
chief alphabets in use among Syriac 6cribes. Of these the first and 
oldest is the Estrangelo, probably so called from being the character in 

which the gospels were copied, \t % \ ^ 10| |^u» ; but gradually 

forms less difficult to write were adopted, and a middle-ancient style 
grew into general use, which in process of time was modified, until in 
comparatively modern manuscripts the Maronite or simple character 
prevail. To the title of Nestorian, as applied to the middle- ancient 
or "Meiocene" style, Dr. Land objects with some reason; but his 
words as applied to the drawers up of the short catalogue in the British 
Museum are founded upon a mistake. Speaking of a Jacobite lec- 
tionary, he says, " Minime ut somniant catalog! autores (p. 42), cha- 
racter antiquo Nestoriano." But the authors of the catalogue did not 
mean, as Dr. Land seems to have concluded, that it was a Nestorian 
work, or written by a Nestorian scribe, but that it was in the character 
next in antiquity to the Estrangelo, and technically called Nestorian. 
Dr. Land calls attention to the fact that the remnant of Nestorians 
upon the lake Oroomiah still use a somewhat similar alphabet, and that 
the American missionaries have adopted it in their splendid edition of 
the Scriptures printed there ; and to this he thinks the title of Nestorian 
should be confined. But he also notices that the St. Thomas Christians 
in Malabar use the same character, and doubtless he is aware that they 
are not Nestorians but Jacobites. 

The Syrians are also in the habit of writing other languages in 
their own alphabet, just as the Jews use Hebrew letters for all tongues 
indifferently, and have done so from the time of Maimonides to the 
present day. They call this Carshun, and though not confined to 
Arabic, yet from the prevalence of that language in Asia, we more fre- 
quently find it so written than any other tongue. Nothing is more 
common in great libraries than copies of portions of the Scriptures, 



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especially Psalters written in double columns, of which o*e contains 
the Peschito, and the other an Arabic translation. But we have also 
seen in the Bodleian Turkish works written in Syriac characters, and 
that being now the state language in the Asiatic dominions of Turkey, 
the priest, mentioned above, from Oroomiah used to write Turkish also 
in Syriac letters. .Of this style of writing Dr. Land says, " Karsuni- 
cam scripturam quis quando invenerit, et nominis originem nescio." We 
find, however, in the preface to the Syriac and Arabic New Testament, 
edited at Rome, A. 1703, by Faustus Naironius, that that learned 
Maronite ascribes its invention to a native of Mesopotamia, who finding 
that the Syriac Christians there were losing their knowledge of their 
native tongue, owing to the necessity of using Arabic in their business 
transactions, while they retained the use of their own alphabet, began 
to affix to their copies of the Scriptures an Arabic version commended 
to them by the retention of their own venerated characters. From 
that day this mode of writing has borne his name : and as Gabriel 
Sionita and the Assemani (Bibl. Med. Laurent, et Pal. Codd. Cat. y 
p. 51 ; Bibl. Vat. Codd. Cat, ii. 23) accept this statement, it comes to 
us at least respectably accredited. 

But it is time to proceed to the works, of which both the original 
and a translation are contained in this volume. Of the principle of 
attaching such a translation to the Syriac we highly approve, but 
regret that we are compelled to find serious fault with its execution. 
In the present state of Oriental studies, works edited simply in the 
original tongue can scarcely be regarded as more than materials made 
available for future use. Probably not a hundred persons have read 
the very valuable treatises edited with scrupulous exactness by Dr. 
De Lagarde. But in the present state of Syriac lexicography the 
labour of translation is very severe, and the qualifications which would 
suffice for rendering with tolerable accuracy a Greek or Latin author, 
where every word is explained in lexicons, and every difficult passage 
buoyed by notes and commentaries, are inadequate when the translator 
is the first explorer of new ground, and finds in every half-page words 
unknown to dictionaries. All this we would bear in mind ; but never- 
theless we feel that Dr. Land has not always taken reasonable pains 
with his renderings, and especially that he has not a proper respect for 
the rules of grammar. Mistakes in the meaning of single words we 
think lightly about ; but Syriac grammar is so exact, and defines so 
clearly the forms of its rich variety of nouns and adjectives, and the 
like, that it gives no excuse for its violation or neglect. And engaged 
as Dr. Land is upon a very important work, which must form a part of 
the library of every Syriac scholar, we trust in his next volume that 
he will give proofs of a more careful attention to that accuracy which 
we think we have a right to expect. 

To shew that our strictures are not unfounded, we will bring forward 
a few specimens of the inexactness of which we complain. Already 
then, in the second page, we have the title and first ten lines of the 
Hexaemeron of James of Edessa, and in it occur these words, yiN ») 



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>^^: twAi? ]A^l$Z? UoNi »»v»>o '.^li li^Vn 

- . i . ^7n . . \^>o7n They are addressed by a certain Constantine, 

at whose request the work was written, to James, and mean, It is thy 
duty as preceptor to speak : and that of my infirmity of mind, t. e., of 
my humble self, to hear and receive and understand. But Dr. Land 
renders : — Et tu» (intelligent®) preceptor qui locutus es, et per poten- 
tiam mentis me® qu» audivit et recepit et consideravit. This is not 
the first thing in this short extract which we should render differently 
from Dr. Land, but we quote it because, besides giving a wrong meaning 

to ]Zo\i »»V>, it violates grammar. His rendering, whatever it 

may mean, would only be possible if the Syriac read L^o], A\V)#, 

But let us proceed to the appendix, in which the Syriac text of Dr. 
Land's works will be found. Passing over minor matters we find in 
page 6 the statement, that Jovinianus gave up Nisibis, and Armenia 
with its dependencies <Ja05oiX, which Dr. Land translates huic man- 
danti, and compares the Talmudic word pnn, mandatum. We will not 
debate pvr, though its meaning rather is, *' leave or licence given to do 
anything ;" but Buxtorf does give a passage where he renders it " regis 
mandatum/ 1 though we think the meaning is, " the king's licence or per- 
mission ;" but will confine ourselves to the Syriac. The words are "He 

gave up ^O5oi^ <Tl^ ^i VVl«V» Uoi2] i»CLL ail^D ]i 1V)3]." 
Now we have no hesitation in saying that ,_1d5(JL^ can have nothing 

to do with CTul, a fem. pronoun referring to Armenia. Had the con- 
struction been as Dr. Land supposes, the genius of the Syriac language 
would have required that the pronoun should be repeated; and the 

scribe would have given the good Syriac word OUpOCLSlA, instead of 
searching the Talmud for an exotic. The word can only be a dative 
after the verb to give, and must, therefore, be an equivalent for the 
other dative ] i ffiy^N put immediately after the verb. And this 
lands us on safe ground at once ; ,-105(71 is the Persian evil demon 
Ahrimanes, — The sting of the sentence is in its tail. A Christian 
emperor gives up Christian towns to the Persians, to Ahriman. Con- 
stantly we find the writers of those days regard the struggle between 
the Romans and the Persians as a personal strife between the true and 
the false God. We grant that Ahriman is more frequently written 
^Lo5oi|, but the Syrians add on or omit an olaph without scruple; 
and we remember having at least once met with the form _Lo5oi, in 
Assent. Act Mart, i., 228, 1. 2. 

In page 19 we have an account of the council of Gangra, which 
among other things condemned those who forbade the use of meats. 
Dr. Land (page 118) renders their canon as follows: " Ab illo jam 
tempore quum Deus Aaronem sacerdotum (? sacerdotem) constituit, qui 



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manu dextra et maxilla et humilitate gregem pavit, et ad Eli sacerdotem 
usque, sacerdotes Israelis carnibus vescebantur." Surely if Aaron 
fed his flock with his right hand, he might hare spared them the jaw : 
and if he plentifully used both hand and jaw, we do not think that 
they would have said that he fed them with humility. Nor can we call 
to mind any part of Scripture where Aaron is said to have fed a 
flock at all : and if he had, we do not see what bearing his feeding 
with his right hand and jaw could have upon the question of eating 
meat -It may seem incredible that instead of these extraordinary 
words the Syriac simply quotes Deut. xviii. 3. It is true that Dr. 

Land makes two alterations, changing |1 i Vl>) into |1 iV)i,0, and 

(Zuo 1 \ into jZo i 1 V The former he gives as an emendation, the lat- 
ter was probably a lapsus calami, writing a familiar for an unfamiliar 
word. The passage therefore really means : " From the time that God 
assigned to Aaron the high priest the right shoulder, the cheek, and 
the maw, to the days of Eli the priest, the priests of Israel ate flesh." 

We must acknowledge on Dr. Land's behalf that |Zl»QXL occurs in no 
lexicon ; but in spite of the broader views of the Germans, we might 
reasonably expect a knowledge of the Pentateuch in a Syriac scholar. 

We have a private canon of our own, but founded upon a very 
wide induction, that emendations of the text are a confession that the 
editor does not understand what the author wrote. How much bad 
Greek and worse Latin we should have been spared, had editors instead 
of condemning the author distrusted themselves! Except obvious 
mistakes of spelling, we utterly disbelieve in all corrections. Without 
going quite so far as Dr. De Lagarde, who, if he finds a letter unfinished 
in the original, mutilates the type so as exactly to represent it, we 
would nevertheless say to every translator, If your version requires 
any emendation of the text, depend upon it your version is wrong. 
And to editors we would give similar advice, If you cannot understand 
what the manuscripts give you, the fault lies not in them, but in your 
own muddled brains. However, we grant that Dr. Land is not often 
troubled with this demon of emendation, but that his Syriac text may 
be well and accurately done. 

We may notice, however, one other instance. In page 65 of the 

Appendix, Dr. Land alters 4^Z] into ^\AlO: but 4^ASo is a 
very dubious word. It may exist, but we defer our belief in its exist- 
ence until proof thereof is adduced. For the present we are contented 

with the strong opinion that the Syrians used for it theEttaph. *$\I AlP. 
But no emendation is necessary. Menander in the place in question 
recommends any father who has a worthless son to make a gladiator of 
him. " Put sword and knife in his hand, and pray that he may soon 
get killed." Now when the empire became Christian all persons con- 
nected with the theatre, the stadium, and the hippodrome, became 
infames : they lost their civil rights, and could not even make a will. 
Numerous proofs of this occur in the Leges Saculares. Now we can- 



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not see any reason why Menander may not have said, If thy son turn 
out audacious, and an athlete ; and daring and a thief. We have four 
words in the absolute state, of which the first and third are adjectives 
of the same meaning, bold, daring ; while the second and fourth are 
substantives, and shew what this daring leads on to. To introduce a 
participle into the second place spoils the symmetry of the whole sen- 
tence, nor would it mean nequam, but exsecratus, maledictus — some- 
thing suffered from others, and not a bad quality or habit in yourself. 
Menander then recommends that if the son take to the stadium — to the 
prize-ring — his considerate father, afraid of the discredit which the son 
may bring upon him, should encourage him to become a gladiator at 
once, and so ensure an early deliverance from him. We fully, after 
this, assent to Dr. Land's opinion that Menander was not a Christian. 
It is in the translation of this sage Menander that we most fre- 
quently find reason to dissent from Dr. Land's version. The Syriac is 
by no means easy, but its difficulty chiefly consists in the translator 
having somewhat slavishly followed the order of the Greek original. 
Put his maxims back into Greek, and they become comparatively easy. 
We will give an instance. At the foot of p. 65 is a passage which Dr. 
Land translates : Quando cibi venter plenus est, abi. Attamen decora 
tibi non est, ut canes edunt, ventris plenitas. The Syriac of the last 

sentence is : *lo>;£» 01)52 ]n\n\ A\ . n] ^A ]nn» ]] 5*0^. 
Now |on» is the participle of a verb signifying to permit, give leave. 
In Ephr. i. 280, Benedictus renders ])iL intemperantia. These, how- 
ever, are trifles : but to render |n\n\ A\iO| as dogs eat, is to set 
all rules of grammar and construction at nought. A\ i O] is a fern. 

pass, part., |*^vVS is the dative of the agent after a passive verb ; 
and the words can only mean eaten by dogs. Had the passage been 
originally written in Syriac, we should have felt uncertain what to do 
with these words, but in a translation from the Greek we know that 
they are only an awkward way of rendering KwoStjKTo*;, a poetical 

epithet of piZ ; and thus the whole passage means : When thy 
stomach is full, depart ; but thy dog-begnawed insatiableness of appe- 
tite will not let thee. In other words, thy gluttony is as insatiable as 
if a pack of dogs were gnawing at thy maw. 

The same indifference to the minutiae of grammar is seen in p. 
69. Dr. Land translates a passage there : Ab adulterio omnino 
abstine ; quare turpia et flagitosa bona emere vis ? The Syriac is : 

♦5olp2. lsU-£o V*V*B ]j^>? \^fj- t^?> an< * staggered by hav- 
ing to render l-^LlO? by bona. Dr. Land appends a note, saying that it 

signifies pretia vel prsemia. But pretia and promia are by no means 
the same thing. Grant that in paying a trader his price, we also give 
him a premium upon his dishonesty, still the two aspects of the same 



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transaction are expressed by different words, and \l^oy does signify 
price, but does not signify reward. iC To buy a price " is not sense, 
nor can it refer, as Dr. Land thinks, to the cruel punishments which 
were the rewards in ancient time of adultery, because the word does not 

signify reward. But the Syriac is clear. The verb \^\ requires > 

after it, and it is only because > requires the same construction as the 

Latin ut, that you ean have 5oSoZ in the indefinite tense. The transla- 
tion is : Why wish to buy rotten and polluted waters ? And for proof 
that waters is an ordinary euphemism for adultery, one quotation may 
suffice, Prov. ix. 17. 

We shall content ourselves with one passage more. In page 72, 

we read: |Zoya "jZo^Lo p;_^0, which Dr. Land renders, oves 

audaces, reddit nutricatio. He further gives a learned note to prove 
that |Zo^So might mean in Arabic the giving suck: but he has not 

given any proofs from natural history of so remarkable a phenomenon 
as that giving suck makes ewes audacious. We recommend the subject, 
however, to the Carolinians, whom Mr. Russell in his Diary describes 
as ransacking nature for the names of ferocious animals with which to 
adorn their regiments ; why not call one of the fiercest " The suckling 

ewes ?" Now, whatever (Zo^Lo may be in Arabic, it is a common word 

enough in Syriac. It occurs, for instance, in the Epistle of St. James. 
Asseman (B. 0., i., 113), renders it contradictio, and we venture to 
suggest that the passage means, contradiction irritates sheep ; or in the 
vernacular, contradiction would irritate a lamb. If Dr. Land will 
search in Proverbs for what Solomon says of |A-»^J (ZAj), a word from 
the same root J^J, he will own that the ancients did dislike being 

contradicted ; for better, he says, it is to sit alone on the corner of the 
roof than to dwell with a contradictory woman ; for she is as bad as 
the continual dripping of water through the roof on a wintry day. 

We have often noticed in Dr. Land this tendency to neglect 
the obvious for the obscure. Already we have had _So5oi, and in 
page 9, we read: ]]o> o] ]A-»1 ->^^ ^k) JiafiuO. Now « »noro 
is even a more common word than (Zo^Lo, being the plural contract 

form of pQ£D, a branch, and we will own that we should have been 
content with rendering the passage, ashes made from branches of the 

olive or palm. Not so Dr. Land : he sees in « » OOfD the Greek word 
cvia}, a fig-tree. True, the Syriac has a word of its own for fig-tree, 

namely, |ZZ; and captious-minded people might object that it is very 
improbable that the ashes of so foul- smelling a plant as the fig should be 
used in a religious rite along with those of the olive and palm ; but we 



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must own ourselves to a feeling of admiration at the ingeniousness of 
the rendering. 

We make these remarks unwillingly, and through no desire to 
depreciate Dr. Land's labours ; on the contrary, we consider his 
Anecdota a most valuable addition to our stock of Syriac literature, and 
should greatly regret to find in the succeeding volumes the same marks 
of carelessness as are visible in that which we have now before us. We 
are quite aware that Dr. Land has no easy task ; it is much the same as 
-if any one had to translate for the first time the Timaeus or Menander, 
with the aid of Schleusner's Thesaurus only. Or rather worse : for 
Schleusner does give all the words in the Septuagint with satisfactory 
explanations, while Castell not only omits numerous words altogether, 
but in all difficult passages contents himself with Gabriel Sionita's ren- 
derings, which, after a careful study of the Peshito, we are bound to say 
are habitually wrong, and only accidentally and occasionally right. 
Nothing, therefore, that we haye said militates against the expression 
of our honest conviction that Dr. Land has rendered a great service to 
Syriac scholars ; we may also add that typographical errors in the 
Syriac are few, though fairly abundant in the Latin ; but we do consider 
that to make him a skilful and competent editor he stands in need of 
a somewhat more extensive course of Syriac reading. Had he, for 
instance, read the Pentateuch with an interleaved lexicon at his side, 

to say nothing of ]AjQJLL, he never could have written in p. 64 " OlAJ 

statu simplici nusquam inveni ;" for he would have found •^i^DQJ OlX), 

Deut. xxxii. 12; ib. 21, OlX) ]j£3, while other writers would have 

given him, usque ad nauseam, such phrases as OlXi |J> for aOeo? ; 

^OlX) an2^ ; ^or> (jdl, etc. 

We would especially notice the " Secular Laws " as worthy of an 
attentive perusal. It is probably not so old as Dr. Land imagines ; 
for the volume from which it is copied is made up of portions of four 
different manuscripts, and we observe that Mr. Cowper considers that 
of these only one belongs to the sixth century (Anal. Niccen., iv.) It 
is, however, highly interesting, and throws great light upon the legal 
relations and every day life of the Aramaic subjects of Rome. The 
mutual rights of husband and wife, parent and child, freeman and slave, 
are clearly set out, and after comparing it with the Nomo-canon of 
Bar-Hebraeus, we find this distinctive difference, that Bar-Hebra3us's 
work is a digest of such ecclesiastical canons chiefly as affected civil 
rights, while the present treatise is occupied with the rescripts of the 
Roman emperors. Leave is occasionally given to appear before the 
bishop or clergy, as a cheaper process for some legal act than applica- 
tion to the civil courts, but otherwise no reference is made to them. 
As these laws are adapted to the use of the Syrians, they contain much 
incidental information concerning their habits, and thereby throw light 
upon passages of Holy Scripture. St. Paul's command to the bishop 
to be the husband of one wife is illustrated by several allusions to poly- 



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gamy as a still existing institution, especially in the form of an inferior 
wife with no dower or marriage contract, but with her position protected 
by law, and her children legitimate and entitled to inherit. We find 
also excellent laws about debts, including a " statute of limitation," and 
what struck us as very curious, an account of the legal rights of the 
owners of " flats." It is amusing to find how utterly unintelligible 
these flats are to Dr. Land, who, in a note, p. 193, wonderingly asks, 
How can the stories of the same building belong to different owners ? 
Nor can he imagine such a state of things possible except where the 
houses were built on the side of a hill, so that the stories could face 
different ways, and each owner enter from the street. Such houses we 
remember having seen in Leith-walk, Edinburgh. The mystery of a 
" common stair," with its Scotch correlatives of a " main-door " and a 
" self-contained " house, are evidently things with which Dr. Land is 
unacquainted, and they are only recently being brought to the know- 
ledge of English people by Victoria Street, Westminster, and the colo- 
nies of poor industrials in Bethnal Green. Had he, however, visited 
Vienna, he would have found the system flourishing in its utmost 
vigour, and we remember being told of a house there which contained 
more than two thousand dwellers under its roof, and probably was owned 
by three or fourscore people, while the massive pile of buildings on 
the top of the mound at Edinburgh, recently, we believe, destroyed by 
fire, did not furnish accommodation probably for many more than half 
that number, and had proportionately fewer owners. 

In house property, therefore, the maxim does not always hold good, 
that Cujus est solum, ejus est cselum : for if a man build a house in 
flats he may sell each one separately, and the mutual rights of the 
owners are regulated by established legal usages, and the obligation 
made compulsory of each one maintaining his flat in substantial repair. 
It is very curious to find the same customs existing in the far East, but 
we can easily understand that in the walled frontier towns, such as 
Dara and Nisibis, space was precious, and that necessity soon invented 
means of adapting their lofty habitations to the means of the many who 
needed a modest dwelling. What strikes us as distinctive is, that the 
law not only gave the owner of the lowermost portion power to repair 
the superincumbent stories, if after legal notice the owners neglected so 
to do, and could recover principal and interest of the expenses so 
incurred ; but that the upper stories were compelled to contribute a 
fixed proportion to the repairs of the ground-floor. Why was this ? 
Were the foundations so weak that constant repairs were necessary, 
and the expense so heavy that without such contributions no one would 
be found to accept the ownership of a freehold so burdened ? Or were 
they tenanted as the cellars of Liverpool once were by the Irish of those 
days, who whatever they might possess, were quite sure to be utterly 
destitute of capital ? 

But it is time to draw our remarks to an end, and we will, there- 
fore, content ourselves with one more extract from this interesting 
book. It refers to the question so eagerly debated by some in the 



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present day, of the propriety of marriage with a deceased wife's sister. 
We give it for what it is worth, reminding the reader that the treatise 
contains only secular laws, and not those founded on the canons of 
councils, and confessing our ignorance as to the amount of illustrative 
matter that might be found in the works of the later Roman lawyers 
upon the Pandects of Justinian. The passage occurs in p. 57 of the 
Appendix, and is as follows : 

" The laws forbid a man to marry his brother's wife, and a widow may not 
marry her husband's brother ; nor again may a man whose wife is dead marry 
his deceased wife's sister, thereby marrying two sisters. And these things 
the laws decreed because of the wicked acts perpetrated by many under the 
influence of lust ; as, for instance, there was a man who was in love with 
his brother's wife, and the two conspired against the husband, and murdered 
him. And a woman, again, was in love with her husband's brother, and the 
two conspired against him and murdered him. And, again, a man was in love 
with his wife's sister, and the two conspired, and from envy murdered the wife ; 
and a woman, again, was in love with her sister's husband, and they murdered 
her sister. Because of such wickedness, the law put an end to marriages of 
this kind, and commanded as to all such as were guilty of them without special 
permission from the emperor, that their children and such of their relatives as 
assented to the marriage, should be unable to inherit their property. But in 
case there have been no previous fraud or wickedness, and the marriage be 
suitable, then shall the man present a petition to the emperor, and by his com- 
mand he may take as wife the relict of his deceased brother, or his deceased 
wife's sister, as the case may be, and by virtue of the emperor's rescript the 
children will inherit." 

With this extract we conclude our remarks, and trust that before 
long we shall be able to welcome the second volume of Dr. Land's 
Anecdote, in which he promises to give us such remains of John of 
Ephesus as still remain unpublished. 

R. P ? Smith. 



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